Nasir in 21st Asian Senior Individual Men’s Squash semis
Below-par performance of Pakistan players on home turf raises question on PSF work ethics
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Nasir Iqbal, who was always given step-motherly treatment by Pakistan Squash Federation, carried forward the hopes of the entire Pakistani nation, as the country’s former number 1 squash player made it to the semifinals of the 21st Asian Senior Individual Men’s Squash Championship 2021, after registering thumping 3-1 victory against the Hong Kong’s Leung Chi Hin in the quarterfinals played here at Mushaf Squash Complex on Friday.
Pakistan Squash Federation had learnt nothing after a shameful loss in the group stage in the Asian Senior Men’s Team Squash Championship played in Malaysia. It was hoped federation will use commonsense and time-tested Farhan Mehboob will be given go ahead, but the federation in the name of trials forced a champion player like Farhan to sit out, which resulted in the federation’s so-called top guns including Pakistan’s number 1 Tayyab Aslam crashed out one after another.
None of the Pakistani women was also able to stand ground against opponents as the federation never looked in a mood to give attention towards female squash and due to PSA rules that the country had to conduct female events alongside male events, the PSF had to conduct events for ladies. But it is not more than just for the sake of participation as far as Pakistani girls’ are concerned. This correspondent had time and again requested to the federation to give proper attention to the female squash as the country is blessed with an immense amount of talent but all requests fell on the deaf ears.
Ever since Air Marshal Aamir Masood has taken the charge of Senior Vice President, he hardly had time to visit the federation. Pakistani players’ performances are an open secret. Where are junior players, whom the federation claimed that they had prepared? After the British Junior U-15 title, where Hamza had gone? What are the performances of junior and senior players? What are coaches doing despite taking hefty monthly salaries besides getting regular chances to conduct tournaments as referees?
Who will take action against such flop shows and dismal performances of the players? Why federation doesn’t bother to conduct open trials and why squash is being kept to a few players only? Who is at fault if the federation doesn’t have any authority to ensure senior players attend training camps?
They can’t get away by putting the entire blame on the players. It is time and again requested to ensure impartiality during trials and invite sports journalists during the trials. But federation had its own way of dealing with things as the federation considers it above all.
It is hoped that Pakistan Squash Federation President will take stern notice of the Pakistan Squash Federation’s poor showing in almost every event and responsible will be taken to task as only PSF President is the last hope for the players or else like hockey, squash will also be remembered in history books and no one else but present officials will be held accountable.
Hats off to the resilience of Nasir Iqbal, who was abandoned by the PSF after his highly unjustified 4-year ban and Nasir was left to fight his case on his own. But he with the help of his family and especially coach and elder brother Tahir Iqbal came out with flying colours from the dark times and showed why he was world number 35 and Pakistan’s undisputed number1 player. He remained undefeated throughout the Asian Senior Team Championship and he defeated second seed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Tamimi of Qatar and recorded a highly sensational 3-1 victory against Leung Chi Hin of Hong Kong in 45 minutes of the exhibition of top-class squash.
Nasir simply outclassed Leung in the first game and took the game 11-4 but had to dig deep to take the second game 11-9. After losing two games, Leung bounced back in style to take the third game 11-3, but that was all he could take from the match as Nasir shut the doors and won the 4th game 11-7 to set semifinal date with Yip Tsz Fung of Hong Kong, who defeated Malaysian Yuen Chee Wern 3-0 in the other quarterfinal.
Earlier, in the first quarterfinal, Pakistan number 1 Tayyab Aslam was up against Hong Kong’s Lau Tsz Kwan. Tayyab started the first game on a powerful note backed by school kids, who were brought in numbers by the federation. Tayyab enjoyed the overwhelming support of an otherwise very thin group of spectators, who were mainly from the federation as outsiders and squash lovers were never entertained by the federation. If school kids were not invited, it would have been a nearly empty venue. Tayyab took the first game 11-5 with utmost ease and comfort. He was given tough resistance by Lau in the second game, but Tayyab hold on to take the game 11-9. After taking a 2-0 commanding lead, Tayyab, like witnessed on numerous occasions in the past, let his opponent off the hook. Lau took full advantage of sleeping Tayyab and took the third game 11-5. Lau was in supreme touch in the 4th game as Tayyab was looking like a meagre spectator and took the 4th game 11-3.
The real drama was witnessed in the 5th and deciding game. Tayyab was having a commanding 8-3 lead and it was looking he will wrap up the game and match with utmost ease and comfort. But hats off to Lau as he never gave up and played some wonderful drop shots and kept Tayyab on the run to all corners of the court and levelled the game at 8-., Tayyab then woke up from deep slumber and managed to take 10-8 lead. He was serving for the game and match, but once again, he failed to capitalize and allowed Lau too much freedom who once again levelled the game at 10-10 and then went on to win the game 13-11, thus winning the encounter 3-2 and set semi-final date with Malaysian Ng Eain Yow, who defeated countryman M Syafiq Bin Mohd Kamal 3-0 in the other quarterfinal.
In the ladies quarterfinals, Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz Ling beat Noor Ainaa 3-1 in 35 minutes, Tong Tsz Wing HK beat Aifa Binti Azman Malaysia 3-2, Ho Tze Lok HK beat Chan Yiwen Malaysia 3-0 and Rachel Arnold Mal beat Chan Sin Yuk HK 3-0.